Some of the most genuine sounds I've heard this year have been from Duos. The way one voice can complement another, when it's layered against the backdrop or woven in throughout the chorus creates texture and harmony the likes of which are impossible to duplicate as a solo artist.
One of the truest loves of the year for me musically has been Angus & Julia Stone.
(HOW CUTE ARE THEY?)
A brother-sister duo fresh from Sydney, A & J make beautiful music together. Julia's voice has been compared to Jolie Holland or even Bjork, with one UK journalist labeling her as possessing a "smoke-on-the-beach" quality; a bit of a fractured, funky drawl. The first song I heard of theirs was "Just a Boy". "You took me in, gave me something to believe in/ A big ole smile was all you wore." These songs begged to be played on a road trip/lake drive with the windows rolled down, or possibly as part of an indie film montage. Either way, both their melody and wit will have you curious for more. (And in case you are, let me highly recommend the following tracks:
2. Mango Tree
3. What You Wanted
What You Wanted has some of my favorite lines and is by far the coolest video I've seen from them, but all of them are pretty dope. Plus, both of them are fun to look at, which never hurts.
If there is one other group that rocked my year in 2009 it was definitely The XX. Consisting of four 20 year olds from South London, The XX makes well-balanced, furtively sexual pop. Their tidy instrumentals and abstract sound blend together to create some of the most dabble-worthy tracks I've heard in ages. If there is one song you take away from them, please let it be Crystalised.
Other note-worthy tracks from this group:
-Islands: sentimental, cozy. "I am yours now, so now I don't ever have to leave."
-Heart Skipped A Beat: lustful, aching. "It's been a while & you've found someone better/but sometimes, I still need you."
Don't get it twisted, the video is nothing special. In fact, its kind of creepy. Just turn up the volume, light a few candles, and marinate on the sound for a while. I guarantee it will spark your imagination.